Governor John Carney declares April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April 18, 2019
By: Yesenia Taveras
Governor John Carney joined the nation in declaring April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM). During the month of April, agencies across the country vamp up awareness and outreach efforts in their communities. A SAAM proclamation is signed by the President of the United States along with Governors and Mayors across the country.
Governor John Carney signs the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, DE. Photo By Yesenia Taveras
“Sexual Assault Awareness Month is intended to draw attention to the fact that sexual violence is widespread and has public health implications for every community in Delaware, where 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will have experienced sexual assault by the time they complete college and where 517 victims received services such as counseling and case management from the two sexual assault hotline programs in the State this last year,” says Governor John Carney.
Sexual assault takes a profound toll on victims, as well as their friends and family. It is not just a women’s issue and it is not just limited to rape – it includes any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent.
Governor John Carney holds the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Proclamation Wednesday, April 17, 2019, at the Carvel State Office Building in Wilmington, DE. Photo By Yesenia Taveras
“This issue is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human issue. Men have to be as much responsible for what happens within this dynamic as much as women,” shared Keith A. Hunt, the State of Delaware’s first Chief Diversity Officer.
Ending sexual violence is a complex process that will require communities and institutions to work together with a focus on healthy relationships for all. Sexual Assault Network Delaware (SAND) is a statewide victim advocacy coalition that represents a group of interdisciplinary and diverse professionals including law enforcement, healthcare professionals, community leaders, victim service providers, victim advocates, and survivors. During the proclamation ceremony held at the Carvel State Office Building, SAND, and its member agencies brought the theme of “I Ask” to life by building on the idea that consent is healthy, normal, and a necessary part of everyday interactions.
Each year the National Sexual Assault Resource Center (NSVRC) presents the NSVRC Visionary Voice Award in conjunction with SAAM each April, to recognize the creativity and hard work of individuals around the country who have demonstrated outstanding work to end sexual violence. This year, NSVRC selected the SAND nomination of Angela Seguin, Assistant Director for Victim Advocacy at the University of Delaware.
“It’s not lost on me that I am able to be here because of the work of so many. I know that I don’t just represent me, or my work, or my colleagues at my office, but all of the advocates who do this hard work every single day,” expressed Angela Seguin after she received her award.
The history of SAAM has shown us that, no matter what, those who want to end sexual assault and abuse will always find ways to advocate for awareness and prevention.
For a list of Delaware statewide agencies that provide services to sexual assault victims and survivors, visit https://dvcc.delaware.gov/victim-service-resources/